There's more to Greek cheese than feta and halloumi, but you might not know that if you've just been buying cheese at your local supermarket, even one with a great cheese counter. Many of the best Greek cheeses are rarely, if ever, exported, such as fresh myzithra, with the consistency of ricotta but with a sturdier, grassier smell and a sweet, clean taste. Blue cheese is another category that rarely makes it across the ocean.
To find some of the cheeses mentioned in Lauren Wadowsky's article, visit a local Greek or Mediterranean specialty shop, where you'll get useful advice and information along with a wider selection.
Stamoolis Brothers, 2020 Penn Ave., Strip District; www.stamoolisbros.com, 1-877-357-0399
This bustling shop sells a wide variety of Greek cheeses, such as graviera and two types of aged myzithra. They also carry an impressive variety of feta-type cheeses, including options from France, Croatia, Bulgaria, Macedonia and, of course, Greece.
Salonika Imports, 3509 Smallman St., Lawrenceville; www.salonika.net, 1-800-794-2256
The storefront is small (they also run a thriving wholesale business), but it's packed with fascinating foodstuffs including jars of "spoon sweets" (usually whole fruits preserved in sugar syrup), bins of dried pulses and grains, and packages of filo dough.
Their deli counter holds large globes of aged myzithra, manouri, kefalotiri, sheep's milk feta and more. Kefalotiri is perfect for grating over fresh pasta with caramelized onions and Greek yogurt. Try manouri as a dessert cheese, drizzled with honey and sprinkled with chopped, roasted pistachios. Co-owner Nicole Balouris shared a trick for correcting feta when it's too salty -- soak it in water or milk for 30 to 90 minutes.
The Greek Gourmet Marketplace, 2130 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill; 412-422-2998
This deli and gourmet shop doesn't have quite as many types of cheese, but it's the perfect place to stock up on items for a Greek-inspired picnic or party. Along with a few kinds of cheese, pick up freshly made spreads, salads, felafel sandwiches, soups, pastries, gyro meat and more.